Colleen graciously sent me a bound ARC of her upcoming January 2nd release, The Rest Falls Away: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles after I saw her video trailer and begged Stef Feagan (using all the charm and grace I could muster) to get me hooked up with an ARC. Truly, Colleen’s video made me drool for this book and, being all about instant gratification, I had no interest in waiting until January. Thankfully, I’m apparently more charming than I believe, because Colleen sent me the book.

Here’s the blurb:

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of vampire slaying, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

What worked for me: I loved the fact that it was a regency set historical (I know this will be a drawback for those who feel tired of regency historicals, but it was a big plus for me). Historicals are not much a part of my reading right now, for various reasons, so I had a lot of fun reading this one. It seems as though many paranormals–especially those about vampires–are contemporaries, so for me, The Rest Falls Away stands out from the crowd for that reason. I enjoyed reading the mythology behind not only the Gardellas but also how vampires came to be. While once upon a time I might have told you I’d never get tired of vampire stories, that has proven to be oh-so-not true. But Colleen’s fresh outlook on the vampire hunter story, combined with the challenges Victoria faces as a woman in regency England (though the difficulties could probably have been written even more vividly, since we only see what I believe is the surface of how hard it would be to hide what she is) makes this book unique enough that it isn’t rehash of some of the same vampire stories we’ve seen. I also liked that we weren’t looking at a dark, sexy vampire as the hero. I don’t know what Colleen has planned for future books, but in this one, the vampires are the enemy and the Gardellas and those who help them fight against the vampires.

What didn’t work quite so much for me: I felt somewhat distant from Victoria as a character. Much of the first portion of the book is introducing the mythology as well as secondary characters who play roles in the book. For this reason, I didn’t feel as connected to Victoria or what happened to her as I might have liked to. Second (and really, no spoilers here), I’m not sure if the books ending was meant to come as a surprise or if the author was purposely leading us there, but it’s something that I think a savvy reader will foresee coming as you’re rather set up to hope for the ending you’re given. In this way, I actually think readers will like the book for this ending very much, but I would have liked it to have greater…emotional impact, but I think this could only have been done by connecting us to Victoria a little deeper and convincing us through less…leading, I guess. Third, this book is obviously the set-up book. Some readers aren’t going to like that. I don’t mind it so much but I would expect the second book to help us get to know and care about Victoria even more and take us deeper into her head. But that’s just my expectations, other readers might not feel the same.

Overall: I liked this book. I wouldn’t have been unhappy at all if I’d paid for it. I think readers will find the book’s story interesting enough to seek out the sequel, as I plan to do. If you like regency historicals and are a fan of vampires, this is a book you should look up. I think it’s a great book to curl up with on a lazy Sunday.

You can find Colleen at her blog or at her website. Preorder The Rest Falls Away here or here. And enter Colleen’s contest to immortalize a friend.

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